Everything MSPs Need to Know About the New Google BERT Update
Heard of the new Google BERT update yet?
Has your managed service provider company heard about BERT? This new algorithm from Google changes everything you thought you know about MSP marketing SEO.
If not, BERT is a major update to how Google ranks search results. It means a tremendous amount for your marketing strategy and in particular, for your SEO. Below, we’ll dive right into what BERT is, how it impacts SEO, and the steps you should take to make sure your SEO is BERT-ready.
What is BERT?
BERT stands for Bidirectional Encoder Representations from Transformers. It is a new learning algorithm designed by Google to help users get more accurate results to their search queries.
BERT addresses the language of search queries specifically. Most notably, it addresses the fact that many people create searches using conversational, natural language instead of short, blunt phrases. The BERT algorithm also applies to longer search queries and specifically addresses the matter of context. BERT is able to do this by distinguishing exactly what the searcher is trying to convey, based on the specific language they use — even small words like “in” or “if.”
Context, Context, Context
If you’ve ever typed something into Google only to get results that absolutely missed the mark, BERT is meant to fix this problem.
How does it do this?
The algorithm used with BERT can learn, but it already “knows” a great deal as well. For example, it knows that the word “nail” has several meanings. Therefore, when you search for “how to paint nails,” chances are you’re not going to get as many (or any) results for how to paint doornails. Instead, your results will be on how to paint your finger or toenails because BERT identified the likeliest context of your search.
To an extent, Google Search was already doing this. The difference, now, however, is that Search with BERT can now understand even more of the nuance of what you search for. If you write a long, multi-step question, for example, BERT will be able to follow along, providing the best possible search results for the whole of your query.
Pandu Nayak, Fellow and Vice President at Google Search, said it this way:
“When people like you or I come to Search, we aren’t always quite sure about the best way to formulate a query. We might not know the right words to use, or how to spell something because oftentimes, we come to Search looking to learn--we don’t necessarily have the knowledge, to begin with.”
SEO is all about language and how people use it, and Google has always been a stickler for these things. Still, Search never completely got it right. “While we’ve continued to improve our language understanding capabilities over the years, we sometimes still don’t quite get it right, particularly with complex or conversational queries,” says Nayak.
Fortunately, they’re getting the hang of it now — with BERT. According to Nayak: “With the latest advancements from our research team in the science of language understanding--made possible by machine learning--we’re making a significant improvement to how we understand queries.”
What does BERT mean for managed service providers?
If you operate a managed service provider company, BERT is a very big deal for you — namely, for your marketing strategy, and in particular, for SEO.
This isn’t to say that you need to do anything specific, like make your headings longer or use more conversational language. You simply need to improve your content if there’s room for improvement. That’s because with BERT around, how much content you have and what level of quality it is will largely determine your SERP rankings.
Watch out: Avoid this BERT optimization error
Be wary of what you believe. If you’ve read other articles claiming to tell you how to optimize your website content for BERT, think twice before buying their methods wholesale. In fact, many so-called “BERT-optimization” articles have already come out, claiming to know the secret to nabbing all the new BERT search queries.
The truth is, Google has always only wanted to reward great content. That’s all they want to do, and they’re pretty purist about it. In this way, it’s good to remember that there are no tricks and gimmicks with BERT.
You don’t have to change anything about your website, other than improving the overall readability of your content.
Still, that’s a tall order for many MSPs. Fortunately, an MSP marketing company like Ulistic can help.
Ulistic specializes in SEO and stays up-to-date on all of the newest SEO practices and policies from Google. We can help you ensure that your website ranks at the top with the use of BERT Search results.
Speak with Ulistic today to learn more about our business development, marketing, and sales services for managed IT service businesses.